From Stacks of Paper to an HR Management System
Why the Iron County School District Human Resources Department chose Frontline HRMS, and how they’re using the system to bring all employee information into one place, save time on contract renewals and forms, and make reporting a breeze.
At a Glance:
- Cedar City, UT
- K-12 Enrollment
- Full-time Employees
- Total Employees
Frontline Solutions Used:
- Frontline HRMS
Iron County School District is nestled in the Cedar Mountains of Utah. It’s a dream for outdoors enthusiasts — the district isn’t far from Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Serving 11,000 students, Iron County incorporates the arts and sciences, provides a wide variety of experiences for students, and boasts high graduation rates and low staff turnover.
Human Resources Director Janette Stubbs has been at the district for 28 years. She served for 18 of those years as a teacher and has a rich understanding of the support that teachers need. Janette sees it as her job to provide support and clarity to the teachers at Iron County, enabling them to provide the education students need. As the district grew, she was instrumental in creating their Human Resources department.
Let’s Get Digital, Digital!
In the past, Janette’s team managed human resources with paper and pencil — a recipe for frustration, lost information, and wasted time. “In order just to find out information on one teacher, I had to go to six different secretaries and two or three different files. I needed everything in one spot to be able to look at all aspects of an employee, from the day that they apply for a position all the way through the evaluation and support process till they retire.”
“I needed everything in one spot to be able to look at all aspects of an employee, from the day that they apply for a position all the way through the evaluation and support process till they retire.”
The job application process also felt outdated. Candidates had to print a paper application, fill it out, and bring it to the district office — hardly the feel of a modern employer. Once they were hired, they would come back to the district office for onboarding. Thick onboarding packets thunked onto desks. File cabinets grew full and heavy.
Contracts, onboarding materials, and required trainings were difficult to track — which was especially challenging for international candidates coming into the district through one of Iron County’s dual immersion programs. Sometimes new hires would show up in August, ready to start school the next day, only to realize that they hadn’t signed a contract or filled out any paperwork, and thus were unable to be paid. Even worse, it was sometimes difficult to track documentation showing eligibility to work in the United States.
And, of course, seeing which teachers were close to retirement, exploring demographic and ethnicity information, and generating other reports were all difficult, time-intensive tasks for secretaries who needed to gather information from multiple spreadsheets. Often, the HR team didn’t know what paperwork hadn’t been completed until they opened up an individual employee’s file. Janette set out to make a change.
The Boxes to Check
Going digital, ditching paper files, bringing information together into one easily accessible location, and providing a simple employee experience were at the top of Janette’s must-have list. As new teachers began their careers, she wanted a system that would keep track of all employee information in one location, from the day a teacher applied for a position, through onboarding, into the evaluation and support process, and on until retirement.
“In the HR department we try to avoid putting too much on our teachers and try to avoid redundancy in systems to support them in the most efficient and organized way that we can. That’s where Frontline came in for us.”
In a world with app stores stuffed with online tools for teachers to use, Janette wanted something that would simplify life for teachers and HR staff alike. A single login. Integration with their current systems. An easy way for employees to sign contracts and letters of intent. Visibility into compliance records and who has completed required trainings.
The Solution: Frontline HRMS
Critically, Janette wanted something that was custom-built for K-12 education. She and Iron County’s new business administrator began to look at systems together.
“I looked at others and a lot of them were more business oriented. I really needed and wanted something that was focused on education. And the different components, knowing that I needed an evaluation system, eventually a professional learning system, those were critical components of mine. Something to be able to digitize our contracts.”
Iron County already used Frontline to manage substitutes and teacher absences, and Janette was drawn to the fact that Frontline solutions could hold all information for recruiting and hiring, employee records, HR management, and employee evaluations in the same system. Those thousands of forms that her team sends out every year? Now, rather than tall stacks of paper sitting on desks and in filing cabinets, they could be digitized.
“I looked at others and a lot of them were more business oriented. I really needed and wanted something that was focused on education.”
Iron County selected Frontline HRMS and found the implementation process to be simple.
“It was so nice to be able to say, ‘Hey, we’re implementing this system and since we already have all the other systems, just push that information.’ The setup and everything was so slick… Our implementation team at the very beginning was incredible. And we continue to have the support that we need to make it the best that we can.”
Less Administrivia. More Time.
Now that the school district uses Frontline HRMS, what results are they seeing?
All the Information. All in One Spot.
“For me and probably for our principals as well, having all of the information in one spot is where the time savings is, I think, happening. Where I would have to go and ask three different people, [now] I just pull it up and I have my answer instantly.”
Janette says that having employee information all in one place is the largest benefit for her team. Forget combining multiple spreadsheets — now she can quickly pull reports showing hire dates for all employees, see who is close to retirement, or drill into individual employee records to see contact information, salary information, learning and growth plans, or procedural discipline issues. She can see which new teachers have been rated effective or ineffective to identify where additional instructional coaches might be needed.
Projecting future staffing needs is another area the system unearths key information. Janette was able to see that close to 50% of employees are within 10 years of retirement — critical data when planning for the future!
Iron County’s HR team used to print out 700 contracts each year, have each employee come into the office to sign, and then file them. Letters of intent to return were handled similarly. Using Frontline HRMS for this process alone saves her team a solid week of time each year compared with using paper. Once the budget is finalized and entered into the system, contracts can be sent out instantaneously. Teachers in dual immersion programs can sign contracts from anywhere in the world, and if a teacher forgets to sign hers, the system can send an email reminder.
Onboarding and New Teacher Inductions
In addition to tracking applicants and managing the hiring process, Janette’s team uses the system to manage onboarding and new teacher inductions. It’s a snap to see which teachers are still within their first 3 years of teaching and how many years of experience they may have had in a previous district (which impacts their salary schedules). Janette can be confident that all new teachers are completing the required forms and will be ready to teach on that first day of school.
“Just the idea that every form we have in the district, our onboarding packets, could be paperless, the ability to turn all our forms into things they can fill out online. So I just think, ‘Let’s try to put it all in one place so that we don’t have all these systems that don’t talk to each other that we’re trying to deal with.’ That was the biggest thing for me.”
Frontline HRMS also helps principals to plan, giving them the information they need to fill out grant applications and see what they might need in their building.
“They can pull up all their employees, what they make, and be able to fill out the grants to know exactly how much they need to have for the year, or ‘If I want to hire one more paraprofessional in this area, what’s this going to cost me?’ It’s all right there in front of them, where before they would’ve sent an email to somebody, waited for the response to come, or made a phone call and hoped they answered. So that’s probably where a lot of the time saving is happening.”
Janette said that Iron County’s business administrator also uses the system to generate reports, by school and budget type, of what the district is spending on teachers, paraprofessionals, and other employees, to inform the district’s budget.
A Simpler Employee Experience
The ability for employees to go to one online spot for all HR-related matters in the district is also key, rather than visiting different systems for substitutes, payroll, job applications, and other tasks.
“It’s all in Frontline. When they have an absence, they can go to Frontline. When they need to check their contract or their pay, they go to Frontline. When they need to look at their evaluation, they go to Frontline. Our teachers know where to go to get the things that they need and the support that they need as well.”
“It’s all in Frontline….Our teachers know where to go to get the things that they need and the support that they need as well.”
Time for More Strategic Work
Janette said that the time she doesn’t have to spend tracking down information is time she can spend focusing on situations that require her attention as the Human Resources Director: legal matters, media communications, updating policies, updating job descriptions, developing specific trainings for employees.
Because she doesn’t have to spend time on contract renewals and approving every hire herself, it allows her to dedicate time to all the oh-so-important work that would often get pushed aside for the administrative work that now others can handle.
Janette said that the district continues to refine how they use Frontline systems to help them be more efficient. They’ve added Frontline’s Employee Evaluation Management to streamline the performance evaluation process. The system facilitates meaningful conversations about teaching practice and allows the HR department to see which principals have completed their evaluations and which haven’t. Plus, teachers can access their evaluation records in Frontline HRMS.
“Every day we learn a new process that we can be better and do better, but I don’t think we would be doing that if we hadn’t moved in this direction.”
They’re also working with their principals and other employees to ensure everyone uses correct processes and are continually evolving those processes to help them better serve employees and students. Janette said this is something they wouldn’t have done if they didn’t have their Frontline tools.
“Every day we learn a new process that we can be better and do better, but I don’t think we would be doing that if we hadn’t moved in this direction. I think we would be doing it the same way we’d always done it. There are bumps in the road, there are issues that we have to sit down and work through, but in good ways we’re working through those issues to be more efficient and to support our principals or to support our processes so that we can get the information that we need. And we wouldn’t have been doing that if we were still doing the paper/pencil processes that we had before.”
Janette said her team wouldn’t go back to the way things were before.
“Was it worth it? Yeah, a hundred percent. We continue to find new ways and to use that program every day to better our processes.”
About Frontline Education
Frontline Education is a leading provider of school administration software, connecting solutions for student and special programs, business operations and human capital management with powerful analytics to empower educators. Frontline partners with school systems to deliver tools, data and insights that support greater efficiency and productivity, enabling school leaders to spend more time and resources executing strategies that drive educator effectiveness, student success and district excellence.
Frontline’s broad portfolio includes solutions for proactive recruiting and hiring, absence and time management, professional growth, student information systems, special education, special programs, Medicaid reimbursement, school health management, inventory control and asset management, payroll, benefits and financial management, and analytics solutions that help district leaders tap into their data to make more informed decisions for the benefit of their students and communities. Over 10,000 clients representing millions of educators, administrators and support personnel have partnered with Frontline Education in their efforts to develop the next generation of learners.
Learn more at www.FrontlineEducation.com